Alexa Efraimson’s effort is getting noticed by track and field coaches across the country.
The 16-year-old upcoming junior at Camas High School captured first place in the 1,500-meter race at the World Youth Track and Field Trials Wednesday, at Bob Guelker Field, inside Korte Stadium, on the campus of Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.
Running in warm and windy conditions, Efraimson crossed the finish line in 4 minutes, 23.12 seconds.
She had to eclipse the qualifying time of 4:36 to be considered for the World Youth Track and Field Championships July 10 to 14, in Donetsk, Ukraine. She was selected to Team USA Wednesday night.
Efraimson has never left the North American continent before. Visiting Ukraine should give her a glimpse of the other side of the globe.
“This is the kind of race I always dreamed of being a part of. Especially on an international level,” Efraimson said. “This kind of epitomizes what the Olympics could be like. I do dream about being an Olympian some day.”
Efraimson thanks her parents, Dan and Chantel, for their support. She also thanks her personal coach, Mike Hickey, for giving her the tools and desire to take her career beyond the high school stage.
Most high school athletes would be satisfied by winning two state championship medals and setting new meet records in each race. Efraimson wanted more. She set a new personal best time of 4:16 in the 1,500 at the Portland Track Festival June 8, at Clark College. She also took second place in the 800, with a time of 2:07.04, at the New Balance Nationals June 16, in Greensboro N.C. All of this effort paid off for Efraimson at the World Youth Trials.
“Follow through on your dreams,” she said. “It’s a long season, but you have to give all you got at the very end. This is what I’ve been training for. I wouldn’t want to cut it short.”
While on this journey to Ukraine, Efraimson has been unable to train with her cross country teammates. She leaves on the Fourth of July and returns to Camas July 15.
“I’m going to miss my teammates a lot when I’m over there,” Efraimson said. “Those girls are going to be with me on every stride.”
Efraimson will race in the 1,500 preliminary round July 10. She hopes to be in the finals, three days later.
“I really want to place for the U.S. team, have fun and hopefully get a PR,” she said. “There are a lot of great competitors out there who didn’t even get selected to go. I feel so honored to have this opportunity.”